Making a good impression during an interview can mean the difference between landing the position of your dreams or being left to scour job ads on Indeed. And while you might be the most qualified candidate for a position, oftentimes the decision comes down to first impressions and how the interviewer feels you carried yourself. The cost of a negative first impression? Seven positive interactions.
If your introduction goes poorly, it takes seven positive encounters thereafter to change someone’s opinion of you.
During the job interview process there is no chance to do damage control after a negative first impression—making how you carry yourself during that first interaction even more crucial.
Follow these 5 interview etiquette tips to help you land the job and showcase your professionalism.
Be on time.
Being punctual demonstrates you value the time of your interviewer while also showing you would be a dependable employee. Have the goal of arriving ten to fifteen minutes early for your interview. During that time, you can review your resume, brainstorm talking points or simply relax. Punctuality is a very simple—yet powerful—tool in your etiquette belt.
It is important to bring extra copies of your resume with you for an interview (shoot for 3-5 copies in case more than one person ends up interviewing you). You should also bring any pertinent materials that will showcase your qualifications for the job. For example, if you are applying for a job as a graphic designer, bring examples of your previous design work. Or, better yet, take the initiative and design a personalized sample for the job you are applying for. It will demonstrate your dedication and willingness to go the extra mile.
As fashion designer Rachel Zoe said, “In my mind, being overdressed is not a bad thing at all. What’s the worst-case scenario? That you are the best-dressed person in the room? Who cares!”
Rachel isn’t wrong. When interviewing for a position, it is better to err on the side of fabulous. Women’s and men’s suits should be clean and neatly pressed. For women, avoid wearing makeup that is too bright (opt for soft lip colors if you’re a lipstick wearing kind of girl). Let your words—not your lipstick—sell your skills. Jewelry should also be kept simple to avoid distracting your interviewer. A structured handbag or briefcase can also add to a professional look.
Hair and nails should also be neat and clean, and be sure to avoid overdoing it on the perfume!
Don’t over (or under) share.
Recently during an interview, a candidate shared with me about having a UTI—something I DEFINITELY didn’t need to know! Keep your conversation focused on your professional qualifications unless your interviewer asks about your hobbies, etc. Sharing health information (like a UTI) is TMI and should be avoided in a professional setting.
On the flip side, avoid giving “yes” or “no” answers to questions. Your answers should highlight your skills, but also not be too long or short. Short answers will make you appear disinterested or underqualified, while long answers may end up boring your interviewer.
Send a thank you note.
A handwritten thank you note to your interviewer is a wonderful final touch. Get the note in the mail as soon as possible to ensure it arrives promptly. This note will also remind the interviewer to think of how wonderfully you did in your interview—and maybe—offer you the job even faster!
Best of luck! Now go get that job!